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Recession: In Memory Of The Fallen Families

Updated on June 4, 2009
The Lupoes
The Lupoes
Carlene Balderrama
Carlene Balderrama

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For The Lupoes, Mrs. Balderrama & Others

I couldn't sleep last night/early this morning. To pass the time, per usual, I went online via my cell phone to read news stories. I know that any doctor would tell you that going online is not the way to lull oneself to sleep. However, it usually works for me. It didn't help last night.

I read one of the more disturbing stories that I have in awhile. Yesterday, a Los Angeles man, Ervin Lupoe, killed his wife and five children before committing suicide. The reason? Like so many Americans, he lost his job and couldn't handle it. Apparently, his wife, Ana, had lost hers not too long ago so they were already struggling financially. When she learned that he has lost his job too, they agreed that dying was the only option. They decide that their children must die too so that they weren't left to deal with the mess their parents were leaving and so that they never had to be cared for/become a burden on anyone else. What a truly heartbreaking story.

The Lupoe Family Tragedy reminded me of a story I read this past July. A woman, Carlene Balderrama, from Taunton, Massachusetts committed suicide less than two hours before her foreclosed home was to be auctioned. She left a note saying that her husband and son should use the insurance money to pay off the mortgage. Sadly, it remains unclear if the family will actually be able to collect on the policy due to the cause of death.

Due to the state of our country, I'm sure that there are other examples. However, I do not want to seek them out. My reluctance to do more research could be viewed as shying away from the issue. I don’t see it that way. Beyond being depressed by what I’ve already read, I feel that by showing more examples, I would be turning these families into statistics. While the government may want to forget them and slide their file into the back of the cabinet, I want to give them the attention they deserve, if only with my words.

Some people, having never faced a time of unbearable stress and pressure, may not understand why Mr. Lupoe and Mrs. Balderrama resorted to this extreme. While I wish that they had waited for help, I understand why they did it. We are surrounded by such sadness. Our country is at war. Our morals are shaky. Our pockets are all but empty. Our new president ran his campaign on hope. Yet, where is this hope for so many people? Beaten down by hours of mind numbing work and bosses on power trips only to come home to stacks of bills, what are we to feel hopeful about? For many people, tomorrow is not seen as a chance for a new start, but the realization that it will be as difficult as the day before.

We are living through a time that our leaders had promised that we’d never have to endure again. Like during the “Great Depression,” there are people today who are starving and homeless. Where is the photo journalist at the soup kitchen? Is that journalist too busy getting photos of a soon to be forgotten star to document this time in our history? Where are the people of my Grandmother’s generation who shared what they had willingly with the less fortunate and didn’t just simply gloat over what they had? Could it be that we are so deep down now that giving is impossible? Our last president didn’t want to admit what our country is going through. Using the “r” or the “d” word was too much of a threat to his pride. You could tell in some press conferences that they were right on the tip of his tongue, but they stayed there. The United States government is too perfect to allow the country to go through a recession or a big, bad depression.

We live in a very scary, very real time. We deny. We economize. We cut back entirely. We pray. We cross our fingers. We dream of the past when having to decide between groceries and rent was a worst fear and not the choice of the hour. I hope that President Obama can dig us out of this mess. Yet, what about Mr. Lupoe, Mrs. Balderrama and the others who have given their lives, the very last item they possessed? As the extended family members of the Lupoes deal with the loss of their loved ones today and try to plan burial arrangements, I hope I will not be the only person thinking of them. As with every life altering circumstance that our country has faced since its birth, I hope that the strength and compassion so deeply found within us will rise to the surface as our new president does his best to return our country to greatness. We must do our best to look out for our neighbors so that they do not become another tragedy. We must live for the Lupoes, Mrs. Balderrama and the other casualties. While they couldn’t find hope in their tomorrow, we must find hope in ours for them.

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